"It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream-making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise,, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams. No, it is impossible, it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence-that which makes its truth, its meaning-its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream-alone".
------------- Joseph Conrad in "Heart of Darkness"


Copyright © 2007-present:Blog author holds copyright to original articles, photographs, sketches etc. created by her. Reproduction including translations, roman version /modification of any material is not allowed without prior permission. But if interested, leave a note on comment box. कृपया बिना अनुमति के इस ब्लॉग से कुछ उठाकर अपने ब्लॉग/अंतरजाल की किसी साईट या फ़िर प्रिंट मे न छापे.

Jan 28, 2009

गांधी के बारे मे सम्पूर्ण जानकारी: एक इतिहासकार का ब्लॉग

आज गांधी जी की पुण्यतिथि है। गाँधी जी के ऊपर हुयी ढेर सी बहस , और सबके अपने -अपने ढंग से गांधी और अपने देश और समाज को समझने की जद्दोजहद जारी रहेगी। इतिहास कार ज्योत्स्ना कामत ने अपने ब्लॉग और अपनी वेबसाईट पर गांधी जी और भारत के इतिहास से सम्बंधित अच्छी सामग्री इकट्ठा की है। उन्ही की वेबसाईट से ये लेख यहाँ पढ़े,

Gandhi and Status of Women

by Jyotsna Kamat

Article on how Mahatma Gandhi's experiments with truth involved and affected women's status in the 20th century in India.

Excerpts from a lecture given at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in December 1998

Women's status at the time

When Gandhiji assumed India's leadership the average life span of an Indian woman was only twenty seven years. Babies and the pregnant women ran a high risk of dying young. Child marriage was very common and widows were in very large number. Only 2% of the women had any kind of education and women did not have an identity of their own. In North India, they practiced the purdah (veil) system. Women could not go out of the house unless accompanied by men and the face covered with cloth. The fortunate ones who could go to school had to commute in covered carts (tangas).

It is in this context that we have to recognize the miracle of Gandhi's work. Gandhiji claimed that a woman is completely equal to a man and practiced it in strict sense. Thousands and millions of women, educated and illiterate, house wives and widows, students and elderly participated in the India's freedom movement because his influence. For Gandhiji, the freedom fight was not political alone; it was also an economic and social reform of a national proportion. After a couple of decades, this equality became very natural in India. After India's freedom (in1947) and adoption of constitution (1950), emphasized equality of women, when Hindu code was formulated, the population was not even impressed. They said -"Of course, it had to be done."

Woman and Progress

Gandhiji always advocated a complete reform which he called "Sarvodaya" meaning comprehensive progress. He believed that the difference between men and women was only physical and has expressed several times in his writings that in many matters especially those of tolerance, patience, and sacrifice the Indian woman is superior to the male. You will discover this when you read his articles from "Young India" and "Harijan". During the 40 years of his political career, he only found more reasons to deepen his faith in what he wrote. He never had a specific program for women, but women had a integral role to play in all his programs. I feel that this is one of the reasons why women participated in his programs so overwhelmingly.

Gandhiji declared that there is no school better than home and there is no teacher better than parents. He said men and women are equal, but not identical. "Intellectually, mentally, and spiritually, woman is equivalent to a male and she can participate in every activity."

Indian society is a male dominated one. Gandhiji has illustrated in his autobiography (The stories of my experiments with truth) how early in his marriage he too wanted to dominate his wife. He often said that paternal society is the root cause of inequality. In his book, there is a very touching chapter about when he asked his wife to clean a public toilet and the resulting conflict between him and his wife. He has written how ashamed he was of himself, and how he took care not to hurt her anymore for the rest of his life. Even though there was big gap between him and his wife intellectually, it did not affect their family life. He has said that Kasturba followed her husband more than was expected of her. Gandhiji followed Bramacharya (strict discipline of food, drinks, and of celibacy) from a very young age, but when his wife passed away, Gandhi grieved that without Ba, his life would have been meaningless. That was the bondage of his 62 years of marriage.

Woman and Social Service

Gandhiji struggled very hard to understand a woman's physical and mental pain. From a young age he introduced his wife and children to social sacrifice and service. He believed that service has to be performed for self-fulfillment, not for public consumption or exhibition. He believed that the publicity given to one's social service actually decrements the value of the service. He tried very hard to eliminate job indignity and bias based on caste system. He tried to do the work of a barber, dhobi (washer man), and janitor to understand them and demonstrate that the work one does has no impact on one's status in the society. For me, the fact that he contributed a great deal in raising his children is very modern concept. On one occasion the white midwife would not show up for his wife's delivery and Gandhiji himself delivered his child. He helped wife with feeding, bathing, and toiletries of the infant. In western countries these days men are encouraged to be with their wives during the delivery and the men are supposed to pitch in with diaper changing, etc. Gandhiji practiced this very modern concept 90 years ago in his own family.

Role of Women

"Womanhood is not restricted to the kitchen", he opined and felt that "Only when the woman is liberated from the slavery of the kitchen, that her true spirit may be discovered". It does not mean that women should not cook, but only that household responsibilities be shared among men, women and children. He wanted women to outgrow the traditional responsibilities and participate in the affairs of nation. He criticized Indian's passion for male progeny. He said that as long as we don't consider girls as natural as our boys our nation will be in a dark eclipse.

Child Widows

Gandhiji was especially considerate of the young widows. In the last 80 years, as a nation, if we have made any progress on the matter of child widows (girls used get married very early and after untimely deaths of their husbands, they were condemned to a life of great agony, shaving heads, living in isolation, and shunned by the society.) it is due to the reformers like Gandhiji and his contemporaries. Gandhiji once noted during his legendary travels across India that he never came across 13 year old who was not married. He declared the marriages in which the girls were not consulted were unholy. At that time in Madras presidency, the number of child widows were alarmingly large. He called upon the young to marry the widows and also to boycott child marriages. (It may be noted here that Gandhiji himself married when very young; he was thirteen.) The history of India knows of many such young men who married widows and went on to work as social reformers.

Temple women and Prostitutes

Gandhiji was very disturbed by the plight of this low caste untouchable section of the society, namely the Devadasis. (see also: The Temple Women) He was hurt by the miserable way the children of brothels were treated. He had made elaborate plans for their rehabilitation. He declared that protecting women's honor was important and as holy as protecting cows. His book "Women and Social Injustice" contains discussions of very deep thoughts and solutions on the topic. He felt that after India became free, the system of temple women and brothels must be abolished. Even though on paper we have abolished the system of Devadasis, rampant exploitation of women as sex servants has continued. There was no way Gandhiji could have predicted modern ways and means of prostitution (call girls, phone sex etc) but he certainly identified its social evil and tried to fight it.

Gandhiji's contribution for betterment of women in India

As we look back at the Indian history and compare the conditions of women before Gandhi's rise, and now, the progress we have made is quite enormous. A whole generation of women leaders came up influenced by Gandhi's vision. If today in India so many women can go to work in offices, educational institutions, and factories without fear or hesitation, the roots for such system were laid 90 years ago by Gandhiji and his followers.

As mentioned earlier, Gandhiji formulated India's freedom struggle as a comprehensive plan for women's development. Even though a lot of inequalities remain in our society, there is a fundamental agreement that men and women are equal. As Indians, we can be very proud that the same cannot be claimed even by so called "advanced nations". In Britain as well as in the U.S.A., women could not vote 75 years ago. But women's voting came very naturally to us from the beginning. About 100 years ago, the western woman could not own property, get a divorce or take the custody of her children. We just have to look at the life and struggles of Dr. Annie Besant to understand the status of western women during Gandhiji's time. The western women had to take to streets, overcome many stereotypes to establish themselves voting and other rights. But for us, political, economic and voting rights came so naturally through the constitution!

Legacy

Today, if Gandhi's agenda has fallen apart, it is due to Indian politics. The continued exploitation of women can be attributed to the degradation in moral values of the society, and utter poverty of our nation. We ignored the role of social service, job dignity, and self reliance.

Jan 20, 2009

बराक की जीत के मायने


एक चीनी कहावत है 'कि आप रोचक समय मे जिए"। और हमारी पीढी इस मायने मे स्पेशल है कि जीवन के विविध पहलूऔ मे परिवर्तन इस एक ही समय मे इतनी तेज़ी से घटित हुए है, कि पिछली ५ पीढीयो ने भी मिलकर इतना बदलाव नही नही देखा, और इस तेज़ रफ़्तार से तो कतई नही।

बाराक ओबामा की जीत भी इसी घटनाक्रम का एक हिस्सा है, और व्यापक अर्थो मे एक बृहतर समाज की सोच मे आए बदलाव को इंगित करती है। कुछ मायनो मे बराक की जीत , बहुत से लोगो की जिनमे अमेरिकी और दुनिया के दूसरे हिस्सों के लोगो की अपनी -अपनी तरह की व्यक्तिगत जीत भी है। और भविष्य के कई दरवाजो को खोलने की एक सामूहिक पहल। एक मायने मे बराक की जीत, भविष्य की यात्रा है, उम्मीद की यात्रा है। पिछले आठ सालों मे जिस डर, अविश्वास और संशय का माहौल खडा हुया, उससे व्यक्तिगत स्तर पर भी, एक बड़े जन समूह की आत्मा पर उसके दाग है। और आम आदमी के लिए बराक की जीत उसी निराशा और हताशा के माहौल मे अपनी
भागीदारी दर्ज करने की है, एक बेहतर कल के सपने के साथ।
अश्वेत और काले, पीले, भूरे, गोरे हर तरह के लोगो के लिए साथ जुड़ने के और एक आपसी विश्वास के नए समीकरण इस चुनाव के बाद से उभरे है। बहुतायत मे स्वेत अमीरीकी लोगो ने पहली बार इतिहास मे ये दर्ज किया है, कि रंगभेद उनके लिए सर्वोपरी नही है। और दूसरे लोग उन पर एक इंसान के बतौर भरोसा कर सकते है। और काले लोगो के लिए, और हाशिये पर खड़े अल्पमत के लोगो के लिए पूरी दुनिया भर मे ये संदेश है कि अलग-थलग रहकर नही सभी के साथ मिलकर, सर्वजन हिताय की सोच से ही रास्ता निकलेगा। रेस और रंग के आधार पर जो लोगो सालो-साल संघर्ष करते रहे है, उनके लिए भी संदेश है कि अब नए सिरे से व्यापक भागीदारी की संभावना अमेरीकी समाज मे बन रही है और इस एतिहासिक क्षण के बेहतर इस्तेमाल के लिए, भी उन सभी लोगो को नए सिरे से सोचना ज़रूरी है।

बराक से जितनी उम्मीद है, तमाम लोगो को, पता नही कितनी फलीभूत होती है, परन्तु एक नेगेटिव माहौल से एक पोजिटिव माहौल ज़रूर बना है। एक लंबा, सामूहिक संघर्ष जो लिंकन के समय शुरू हुया मानवीय अस्मिता का, सब इंसानों की बराबरी का, उसने निसंदेह एक बड़ा मकाम हासिल किया है। और अगर इतनी लम्बी जद्दोजहद हजारो -लाखो लोगो ने इस लंबे समय तक नही की होती तो बराक के लिए और अमेरिका के लिए इस क्षण का आना सम्भव नही था। अमेरिका और दुनिया ने दास प्रथा के उदय से लेकर, नए महादीपों के कोलोनायीजेशन से लेकर, दास-मुक्ती, औघोगिकरण, वैश्वीकरण तक कितने कदम तय किए है, फ़िर भी मानव-मानव के बीच शोषण हर बार रंग बदलता रहा है, और बार बार नए चोले बदला किया है। बराक के आने से भी इन संबंधो मे आमूलचूल परिवर्तन की संभावना नही दिखती पर उम्मीद ज़रूर दिखती है, और इसीलिये बराक की जीत हमारे समय की सबसे बड़ी "म्यथिकलस्टोरी ' भी बनने जा रही है। लंबे समय तक अपने-अपने तरीके से इसे जन जागरण की एक अनूठी मिशाल की तरह समझा जायेगा।

बराक की वजह से नही बल्की बदली हुयी इस सामूहिक मानसिकता के चलते और लोगो की व्यापक भागीदारी के चलते अब उम्मीद की जानी चाहिए की अब फ़िर कभी ट्स्कीगी एक्सपेरिमेंट दुबारा नही होंगे। और ऐसी संभावना हो भी तो लोग मात्र एक हुक्म बजाने के बजाय, और प्रोफेशनल स्वार्थ से ऊपर उठेगे । और तब डेविड एक अकेला डॉक्टर नही होगा, जो मानवता को, अपनी डॉक्टरी से आगे रखेगा. शायद सभी डॉक्टर ऐसे ही होंगे.
काम मिलने के अवसर, सहभागिता के अवसर, और इंसान की तरह सर उठा कर जीने के अवसरों के नए मकाम बहुतायत के लिए खुलेंगे।
औरतों, दलितों, और हाशिये पर खड़े वर्गों से आए लोग सामाजिक पहल का uहिस्सा होंगे। बराक की ही तरह हिलरी, और अलास्का की विवादास्पद गवर्नर पालिन, भी व्यक्तिगत रूप से विशेष होते हुए भी इसी सामाजिक घटनाक्रम का हिस्सा है।
और मार्टिन लूथर किंग का सपना कि भविष्य के लोगो को उनके रंग, शक्लो-सूरत, और किसी भी दूसरे पैमाने से जो उम्होने नही चुना, के बजाय उनके कर्म से, और उनके चरित्र से आँका जायेगा" कई करवटे बदल रहा है हम सब इस रोचक समय के सहयात्री है, और अपने अपने स्तर पर सहभागी भी।

Jan 18, 2009

सबसे मुश्किल है उसे देखना जो आंख के ठीक सामने हो!

दिन भर से Goethe को लेकर और उनके "पत्तो से फूल बनने" के कांसेप्ट के साथ घींगा-मुश्ती करते हुए भी अब थकान होने लगी है। पर फ़िर भी आज Goethe की सारी बातों का जो निचौड़ निकला वों यही निकला . कुछ इस अंदाज मे भी की आँख को जो दिखाई देता है, क्या पूरा भी दिखाई देता है ? या कहे तो ठीक आँख के सामने की ही चीज़ देखने का मौका हम निकाल नही पाते
और १८वी शताब्दी से २१वी तक यही बात बदली नही है। वॉशिंगटन पोस्ट मे छपी इस स्टोरी से तो यही लगता है, की रोजमर्रा के जीवन मे, आँखों के सामने से कितनी अमूल्य चीजे गुजरती रहे, किसे फुर्सत है जो देखे? जो पहचाने? जो जिए,....इस मशीनी रफ़्तार मे........
ओरिजिनल आर्टिकल और वीडीयो का यहाँ पर है।

लब्बोलुबाब कहानी का ये है.
On a cold morning in January 2007, a man arrived at a Washington DC station and started to play the violin for about 45 minutes during rush hour, offering up six baroque masterpieces by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was calculated that thousands of commuters passed through that central metro station while he played.

Three minutes went by before a middle-aged man slowed his pace, stopped for a few seconds, but then hurried on to meet his schedule.

A minute later, without stopping, a woman threw a dollar bill into his open case.

A few minutes later a man leaned against the wall to listen, but then looked at his watch and quickly left.

One, a little boy who stopped the longest, was mustered away by his mother, but turned his head back to listen, craning all the way. This scene was repeated with several children, while all the parents without exception, forced them quickly on.

Over the 45 minutes which the violinist played, only a half dozen people stopped to listen. In all, about twenty gave money. His take was little over $30. When the violinist finished playing, no one applauded; no one seemed to take notice. One commuter alone recognized the violinist as Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world (three days prior, he had sold out a concert in Boston for up to $100 a seat).

During those 45 minutes, Joshua played some of the most intricate pieces ever written, all on a 1713 Stradivari bought for over three million dollars.

This world-class soloist playing incognito in a subway station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about people's perceptions, taste and priorities. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment, at an uncommon hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? The Post won a Pulitzer for the feature.

One question one might take away from this experiment: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the finest musicians in the world playing some of the most extraordinary music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Here is hoping each of you can stop and see all of the beauty out there!

Jan 15, 2009

पामेला रोनाल्ड का ब्लॉग: एक बेहतरीन वैज्ञानिक का बेहतरीन ब्लॉग

कई सालो से पेम के काम बे बारे मे, पढ़ती -पढाती आ रही हूँ। एक वैज्ञानिक के बतौर ही नही पेम के लिए एक इंसान के बतौर भी मेरे दिल मे बहुत जगह है। पिछले महीने, पेम और रौल के साथ कुछ समय बिताने का वक़्त मिला, विज्ञान के अलावा, वैज्ञानिको के ब्लॉग लेखन पर भी बात चली, और इस बाबत पेम पहली नामी वैज्ञानिक है जिन्होंने ब्लॉग लेखन को गंभीरता से लिया है। उनके ब्लॉग का नाम उनकी चर्चित किताब जो हाल मे ही लिखी गयी है, के नाम पर है, "कल का भोजन" यानी Tomorrow's table. This is the link for her blog.

आधुनिक और परम्परागत खेती और GMO food, society, पर केंद्रित किताब, "Tomorrow's Table", जिसे पेम और उनके किसान पति ने जो ओरगेनिक खेती के बड़े पैरोकार है, बेहद रोचक ढंग से लिखा है। सामान्यजन की भाषा और सारोकारों पर लिखी ये किताब सचमुच पढ़ने लायक है।

पेम और राउल का पब्लिक लेक्चर , जो कुछ दिन पहले सुनने का मौका मिला, उसकी slide यहाँ पर है. हिन्दी जगत मे तकनीकी और विज्ञान को लेकर जो उथली समझ है, और उस पर सामाजिक सारोकार के नाम पर जो अधकचरा जलसा है, शायद उससे उबरने का कोई रास्ता भी निकल सके, इस तरह की सामग्री अगर ब्लॉग पर मिलने लगे।

किताब और इस मुलाक़ात पर फ़िर कभी ......

फिलहाल विज्ञान और समाज से विज्ञान के रिश्ते को लेकर सजग रहने वालो को पेम का ब्लॉग ज़रूर पढ़ना चाहिए।

Jan 7, 2009

know thyself (औरतों का शरीर और स्वास्थ्य)

आज सायंस ब्लोग्गेर्स, के बारे मे बात करते हुए एक मित्र ने इस link पर पहुंचाया। जहा स्वास्थ्य से सम्बंधित अच्छी जानकारी है। खासतौर पर ये हिस्सा सभी औरतों को ज़रूर पढ़ना चाहिए, जिन्हें अपने मासिक चक्र मे समस्याए आती है, और कई मर्तबा झिझक की वजह से या सही तरह से अपनी समस्या न समझ पाने की वजह से कोई मेडिकल सहायता नही ली जाती है। कई मर्तबा मुझे कई वाकये अपने हॉस्टल के जमाने के याद आते है, जब कई लड़किया अतिशय दर्द को नोर्मल समझ कर झेलती थी, या फ़िर कभी किसी समस्या को लेकर डॉक्टर के पास गयी भी तो सीधा समाधान नही मिला। खैर ये आज से २०-२५ साल पुरानीबात है। इस दरमियान मेडिकल सायंस ने बहुत ज्यादा तरक्की की है।

किसी के पास वक़्त हो तो इसे हिन्दी मे अनुवाद कर दे। इस उम्मीद पर भी ये पोस्ट लिख रही हूँ.